Welcome Tian Wigmore – our new Administrator!

Please join us in welcoming Tian Wigmore as our new Administrator!

Tian Wigmore, PEISO Administrator
Tian Wigmore, PEISO Administrator

A business graduate from UPEI and Holland College, Tian is well known to PEI music fans as a great local musician working with many artists in Atlantic Canada including Tim Chaisson, Andy Brown, Chas Guay, Cynthia MacLeod and many more.

Tian explains, “As PEISO Administrator I have started a new chapter in my musical career.   I look forward to meeting the many longstanding patrons who have supported the symphony for the past 46 years, and to expanding my musical knowledge, as well as my business skills as we work to bring the best possible symphonic experience to Prince Edward Island.”

“I believe the PEI Symphony is a gift to the residents of PEI.  Not only does it help to ignite a fire inside young performers who may want to pursue classical music as a career, but it also allows our many gifted Island musicians the opportunity to play the music that they love in front of a crowd, as all our musicians and patrons together keep the symphony alive and vibrant in our community.  As the new Administrator I will work hard to help this organization continue to bat above it’s weight, and with your support, enable it to flourish for another 46 years!”

We’re fortunate to have someone with Tian’s event planning and business skills on the team.

With Tian’s help, we have an exciting season of orchestral music ahead.  Subscriptions are available by calling Tian at 902-892-4333.  Just leave a message and Tian will call you back as soon as he can.  Or download this PDF form and send it to Tian by mail or email!

PEISO Subscription Form 2014-2015 Season

We hope to see you at our first concert of this new season – Sunday October 19th at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Our 2014-2015 Season – get your subscriptions soon!

PEI 2014

The PEI Symphony Orchestra announces four extraordinary concerts including a PEI 2014 celebration in November, guests Catherine MacLellan and Roy Johnstone, and affordable pricing.   This season don’t miss Prince Edward Island’s best orchestral and contemporary music together on one stage!

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE –  From the 100th anniversary of Confederation through the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, our tradition of excellence continues with four exciting concerts, and reduced pricing for season subscriptions and concerts.

With our focus on encouraging families, and music fans to enjoy the power and majesty of live orchestral music, we are continuing to offer the lower pricing we announced last year for season subscriptions.  Four concerts for only $110 for adults and seniors, and $50 for students and children, bringing the per concert cost to $27.50 for adults and seniors and only $12.50 for students!  And all our subscriptions this year include tickets for our PEI 2014 celebration in November.

Subscriptions are available by downloading the following PDF form, or by calling our office at 902-892-4333 and leaving a message, and our administrator will contact you as soon as possible.

PEISO Subscription Form 2014-2015 Season

With our dynamic new music director Mark Shapiro at the helm we have an exciting season ahead!

October 19  –  Pictures at an Exhibition!
Confederation Centre  Homburg Theatre 2:30pm

  • Pictures at an Exhibition – Mussorgsky / Ravel
  • From the Drum Comes a Thundering Beat –
    by Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy
  • Saxophone Concerto – Dubois, featuring 2014 Suzanne Brenton Award Winner Lucas MacPhail

November 23  –  PEI 2014 presents Celebrate Canada!
featuring Catherine MacLellan
Confederation Centre  Homburg Theatre 2:30pm

  • Two new Canadian works selected through our Composition Competition – one piece celebrating the Canadian Soundscape and one featuring Canadian Text, with singer
  • Special guest performance by PEI singer/songwriter Catherine MacLellan

February 1  –  Celtic Landscape: Mendelssohn and Roy Johnstone
Zion Presbyterian Church 2:30pm

  • Overture to the Hebrides – Felix Mendelssohn
  • Cradled on the Waves: A People’s Symphony – created for PEI fiddler Roy Johnstone
  • Symphony No. 3 in A minor, the “Scottish” – Felix Mendelssohn

April 12  – Mystic Journey: The Passion of Sibelius
Conderation Centre Homburg Theatre 2:30pm

  • Symphony No. 41 in C major “Jupiter” – W.A. Mozart
  • Symphony No. 2 in D major – Jean Sibelius

Please note –repertoire is subject to change as required.

We are delighted to return to the renovated Homburg Theatre at the Confederation Centre for three of our four shows this season.  While the Confederation Centre was closed for renovations last year we presented two concerts at the Zion Presbyterian Church, located at 135 Prince Street in downtown Charlottetown, and we’re delighted to announce that we’ll return to this beautiful and intimate venue for our special February program

Mark Shapiro is the new Music Director of the PEI Symphony.  A versatile and talented conductor, Mark Shapiro is one of a handful of conductors in the United States to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award four times, achieving the unique distinction of winning this award with more than one ensemble.   He is also the winner of multiple citations for performance and programming from The American Prize.  His performances have been praised by the New York Times for their “virtuosity and assurance,” which also remarked on their “uncommon polish.”  The New Jersey Star-Ledger characterized his artistic leadership as “erudite and far-reaching.”  Shapiro is the principal guest conductor of the chamber Nova Sinfonia in Halifax NS, through which he knows many of the PEI Symphony musicians.

For more information about purchasing season subscriptions and concert tickets, please call 892-4333.   Tickets to individual concerts will be available through the Confederation Centre Box Office in October.

Serenade to Spring Dinner & Auction, last week for tickets

PEI Symphony’s most important fundraiser of the year – June 7 this year!

Every spring the PEI Symphony presents “Serenade to Spring” – a gourmet dinner and auction featuring high quality items including paintings and works of art by local PEI artists, gift certificates for meals, golfing and quality services by local businesses, special music lessons and concerts by top Island musicians and other special items.

Please support your PEI Symphony Orchestra and plan to attend this key annual fundraising dinner and auction.

For 2014 our event wil be held Saturday June 7th in the elegant Georgian Room of the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, with a gourmet meal and a wonderful assortment of art, gift certificates and donations for both the live and silent auctions.

Saturday June 7, 2014
– 6:00 Cocktails and Auction Viewing
– 7:00 Dinner & Bidding
Location: Rodd Charlottetown

Music by Singing Strings

Tickets are $90 per person with a $50 tax receipt. If you’re not available for the dinner why not just send us the $50 donation in return for the tax receipt for next year’s taxes.

Auction item donations are most welcome, and tax receipts are provided for the full value of the donation(s).

For more information or to order tickets please contact our office at (902) 892-4333 or email admin@peisymphony.com

We need your help. Thank you for your continued support, and please pass the word along!

Concert April 6 – Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Wagner!

The beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church in downtown Charlottetown is again the venue for the final PEI Symphony concert of this season, on Sunday April 6th, during East Coast Music Week here in Charlottetown PEI.

Under the direction of new music director Mark Shapiro the April program includes music by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Wagner fresh from his victory over Verdi in our recent Audience Choice Battle.  Our program for this concert:

  • Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg, by Richard Wagner
  • Jeu de Cartes, by Igor Stravinsky
  • Symphony No. 6, the “Pathétique”, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

For more information about each work, read on below.

The concert starts at 2:30m at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Prince and Grafton streets downtown.  Please note there will be no Pre-Concert Talk for this event due to timing limitations, but Maestro Shapiro will provide context for each piece during the concert!

There is a new special Family Package rate available for this concert – $80 for up to two adults to bring up to four children.   Tickets are available at the door, at the Confederation Centre Box Office, or online.

On Sunday April 6th the PEI Symphony presents the last concert of the season, again at the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church in downtown Charlottetown. The PEI Symphony recently performed its annual Winter Storm concert at the Zion in February and those in attendance enjoyed the wonderful acoustics, and intimate setting – perfect for a classical music event.

Written in 1893 and first performed in October that year nine days before Tchaikovsky’s death, his Symphony No. 6 in B minor is the composer’s last symphony. Only 55 years old when he died Tchaikovsky was both famous and admired globally as one of the greatest composers ever.  Circumstances surrounding his death coupled with the tragic tone of this symphony famously titled “Pathétique” have left a mystique that persists to this day, leading to recent debates among musicologists about possible suicide, rumours of homosexuality and questions surrounding the composition of the piece. In late 1892 Tchaikovsky had abruptly decided to abandon work on another symphony on which he had been struggling. For a time despondent about composition, by February 1893 he had begun the work that would prove to be his greatest.

The title Pathétique was famously proposed by his brother Modest. In Russian the word carries a meaning closer to passionate, full of emotion, suffering and some say despair. Like his abandoned symphony the Pathétique score is programmatic, but as he wrote “with such a program that will remain a mystery to everyone—let them guess.” Private notes refer to a symphony about life’s joys and sorrows, which would be similar to the central themes of both Swan Lake and Eugene Onegin, the great theme of the composer’s life: “the painful search for an ideal that is never satisfied”.

About a week after Tchaikovsky’s death, the Pathétique was performed for a second time. In the audience was an impressionable 11 year old boy who would soon become Russia’s most celebrated composer. Forty four years later Igor Stravinsky would create his charming “Jeu de cartes” which the PEI Symphony will also perform in April.  Jeu de cartes, or ‘card game’ in English is a ballet in three “deals” composed in 1936–37, with the story by Stravinsky and M. Malaieff and with choreography by the famed George Balanchine.  The ballet premiered in 1937 in New York City, by the American Ballet with the composer conducting. The main character is a deceitful Joker, who fashions himself unbeatable, owing to his ability to become any card. Jeu de Cartes shows that even the powerful Aces and Queens can occasionally be defeated by the common cards.

For the first time ever, the PEI Symphony will be performing a work chosen by the audience, through an “Audience Choice Battle” featuring competing overtures by Verdi and Wagner.  In March the PEI Symphony called for audience voting to determine the overture which will be performed.  The choices were:

  • The Overture to La Forza del Destino, by Guiseppi Verdi or
  • The Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg, by Richard Wagner.

Fans were invited to vote for either the dastardly force of destiny – or the divine pursuit of musical excellence to win a future of love!  After a record number of votes – the highest ever in PEI Symphony history – Wagner emerged triumphant in our Audience Choice battle.  Verdi fans can be proud for their late comeback attempt in the final 48 hours of our contest, but in the end the legion of Wagner fans held on to their early lead.

To make it easier for families to enjoy the beauty and power of live orchestral music together, the PEI Symphony is delighted to announce a new $80 Family Package for this concert. Family groups with up to two adults and up to four children can attend for a single price of only $80.  Please call 892-4333 to order these packages.

The concert will be held on Sunday April 6 at 2:30pm, at the Zion Presbyterian Church, 135 Prince Street at the corner of Grafton. Due to rehearsal scheduling, there will be no Pre-Concert Talk with Maestro Shapiro. Tickets will be available at the door, in advance at the Confederation Centre box office, or online at www.confederationcentre.com. Tickets are $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children.  For more information please call 892-4333.

This is the final concert of the PEI Symphony season and the program for the 2014-2015 season will be announced shortly with subscription sales beginning in April. Among the highlights for next season is a special PEI 2014 concert event scheduled for November 2014. Subscriptions are only $110 for four concerts for adults and seniors and $50 for students.

Audience Choice victor is … Wagner!

After a record number of votes – the highest ever in PEI Symphony Idol history – Wagner has emerged triumphant in our Audience Choice battle.  Verdi fans can be proud for their late comeback attempt in the final 48 hours of our contest, but in the end the legion of Wagner fans held on to their early lead.

Richard Wagner image
Of course my piece won!
For the first time ever, the PEI Symphony will be performing a work chosen by our audience, through our “Audience Choice Battle” featuring competing overtures by Verdi and Wagner.   The choices were:
  • The Overture to La Forza del Destino, by Verdi,     OR
  • The Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg, by Wagner

The final votes are all in, and Wagner emerges triumphant.   Wagner’s Predule will open our upcoming concert on Sunday April 6th 2:30pm at the Zion Presbyterian Church.

The choice was very clear, and this contest proved the “Divine Pursuit of musical excellence to win a future of love” will always trump the “Dastardly Force of destiny”.  What a relief!

Here’s a fine example of this beautiful piece:

Audience Choice – Verdi vs. Wagner!

For the first time ever, the PEI Symphony will be performing a work chosen by our audience, through our “Audience Choice Battle” featuring competing overtures by Verdi and Wagner. Your votes will determine which work we perform at our upcoming concert on Sunday April 6th 2:30pm at the Zion Presbyterian Church.   

The choices are:

  • The Overture to La Forza del Destino, by Verdi,     OR
  • The Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg, by Wagner

Read on for descriptions of each work, links to read more on Wikipedia, and a YouTube sample of each.  Once you’ve made your decision you can use the voting form below to send us your vote, and to indicate if you’d like to join our new PEI Symphony Email Newsletter for ongoing news about PEI Symphony activities and programs.   Vote often and anytime up to 9pm Monday March 17th.

The choice is very clear – and you’re going to have to take sides.    Will it be The Dastardly force of destiny – or the Divine pursuit of musical excellence to win a future of love!


Verdi vs. Wagner  –  your choice!

Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del Destino

Choose Verdi!

Guiseppi Verdi’s popular opera delivers a tangled tale in which the characters come together through coincidence, and then play out their tragic roles through to the bitter end.  There’s some comedy, but in the end it’s great tragedy for the three main characters Donna Leonora, her brother Don Carlo, and her lover Don Alvaro.

The opera as it is now known dates from a production at La Scala, Milan in 1869. Among numerous changes, Verdi discarded the brief, original orchestral introduction and replaced it with the sort of full-blown, plot-encapsulating overture he had regularly produced in earlier times. It is an overview that includes some of the major themes from the opera (including the “fate” motive associated with the heroine Leonora), drawing on both lyrical and dramatic elements for contrast and interest. It is a short but dramatically powerful work that can stand perfectly on its own in the concert hall.

… read more on Wikipedia

Performed by Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra


Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg

No Way, you must choose Wagner!

Set on midsummer’s eve, Nuremberg in the 16th century, this comedic opera revolves around the real-life cobbler-poet Hans Sachs and the guild of mastersingers – poets and musicians who pursue their craft according to traditions and rules.  A goldsmith’s daughter Eva, and a knight Walther fall in love, but Eva’s father has promised her to the winner in the forthcoming song contest. Walther must learn the mastersinger’s art rapidly, under the wise tuition of Sachs, despite a challenge from the foolish town clerk Beckmesser. The cause seems hopeless but in the end talent, honesty, and true love prevail. The Prelude is a rousing orchestral opening that features the stately, ceremonial masters’ theme and the lyrical “Prize Song”.

… read more on Wikipedia

Performed by Tennstedt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra


Voting is now closed.  We hope you enjoyed our Audience Choice Battle.  Stay tuned for our announcement of the winner!


Job posting – PEI Symphony Administrator

The PEI Symphony Orchestra is currently seeking an Administrator.

The Organization

Incorporated in 1968, the PEI Symphony Orchestra contributes to the artistic life and community in PEI by providing a series of four or five concerts every year featuring live, high quality symphonic music, and employing 60 to 75 musicians for each concert. The executive leadership for the PEISO is provided by a ten member volunteer Board of Directors that is responsible for establishing and achieving the strategic goals of the organization, and ultimately for marketing and business management decisions.

Duties of the PEISO Administrator

Reporting to the PEISO Board through the President, the PEISO Administrator is responsible for managing the day to day clerical operations of the organization, and supporting the work of the Board.  This is a part-time contract role requiring approximately 2 or 3 days per week.  Some weekend and evening work is required for concert weekends, and for monthly Board meetings.

Specific duties include:

  • Negotiating with venues for rehearsals and concerts
  • Negotiating with guest artists and/or their agents
  • Arranging publicity and advertising
  • Recording attendance at rehearsals and concerts and ensuring musicians and guest performers receive accurate and timely remuneration
  • Preparing correspondence to subscribers, sponsors, funders and government agencies
  • Preparing grant applications
  • Managing correspondence and inquiries directed to the PEISO
  • Liaising with other artistic organizations in PEI and Atlantic Canada
  • Maintaining the financial information system and associated accounting records, managing accounts payable and receivable, and preparing monthly cash flow statements and financial summaries for the Board
  • Attending and providing monthly written reports for monthly PEISO Board meetings
  • Preparing the annual report
  • Assistance with fundraising activities as required

The PEISO Administrator liaises regularly with the President of the Board of Directors, the Music Director, Personnel Manager, and others; and works closely with the Treasurer in managing cash flows and preparing an annual budget to be approved by the Board of Directors.  The role is primarily clerical and not have the authority to enter into contracts or hire staff on behalf of the PEISO.  The President of the PEISO Board of Directors is the official media contact and spokesperson for the organization.


Graduation from a post secondary institution with a minimum of three to five years experience in an administrative or office management position is the minimum requirement for this position.  The incumbent must have experience with managing and monitoring a budget; recording financial transactions; preparing financial reports, and working in an environment with limited direction.  The successful candidate will have experience with standard Internet and office software, and experience with Simply Accounting or Quickbooks would be beneficial.

Excellent interpersonal, organizational and time management skills are required for this position, and experience in non-profit sector, in the arts, and experience working with a Board of Directors are also assets.

How to apply

Please send your cover letter and résumé electronically to hr@peisymphony.com by Monday March 17.  Applications should be either of the following formats:  Adobe PDF (preferred), or MS Word .DOC or .DOCX.  Please do not place either your cover letter or résumé in the body of the email message.    For more information please call 902-388-6042.

The PEISO thanks all who express an interest in this position but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Download this job posting:  PEISO Administrator Job – posting March 2014



Celebrating Natalie Williams-Calhoun, outgoing PEISO Administrator

Sad news to share with you all.

After three stellar years as our Administrator, Natalie Williams-Calhoun has tendered her resignation, effective this summer.  On behalf of the board, all our musicians and volunteers we deeply thank Natalie for all her hard work and dedication to this role and for all the successes and wonderful music we’ve experienced during her tenure. Natalie has made a tremendous contribution to the PEI Symphony as our Administrator – and the great news is that she will continue as one of our top cellists, for years to come hopefully!

Thank you Natalie for everything!



PEISO Fruit Sale is Back!


PEI Symphony Fruit Sale 2012


Yes it is that time of year again!   The PEISO Fruit Sale is back – fuel up for all the snow clearing work – and beat the winter blues by biting into a taste of sunshine!  Help support live orchestral music in PEI by purchasing some juicy naval oranges, or perfect pink grapefruit from us this year.

Still only $10 per bag, or pick up a half box $30 or full box $50 to really beat the blues!

For 2014 we are primarily selling from the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and the Confederation Court Mall on Tuesdays.  If those locations aren’t convenient and you have a large order, please call 388-6042 and we may be able to arrange for a delivery or a rendezvous time at our depot.

Our selling locations for 2014:

Charlottetown Farmer’s Market:

Our volunteers are at The Doctor’s Inn booth across from Island Taylored Meats, on:

  • Saturday February 22, March 1, March 8, March 15
  • LAST CHANCE Saturday March 29
  • 9am to 2pm

Confederation Court Mall:

Our booth is located by the TD Canada Trust and we’ll be there on:

  • Tuesday March 4, March 11, March 18 and March 25
  • 10 am to around 3pm each of these days

Fundraiser Depot:

On Brackley Point Road, right beside Chucker’s Trophies and across the street from Birt’s Furniture. The mailing address is 161 St. Peter’s Road, but the actual storefront is right on the Brackley Point Road in the old Canada Revenue building just before the mall.  Many thanks to Fruit Sale sponsor R. Birt & Associates for donating the depot.

If picking up your order at our depot is more convenient, please call Dan at 388-6042 to arrange a time.


To order by phone please call 892-4333 and leave a message, or send us a message to fruit@peisymphony.com

For more information call Dan at 388-6042, or Natalie at 892-4333.


New Venue for our February concert

Julia MacLaine, photo by Spencer Llyod

The beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church in downtown Charlottetown will be the venue for the next PEI Symphony concert, on Sunday February 16th.  The PEI Symphony’s season of renewal continues under the leadership of new music director Mark Shapiro with this special concert event featuring acclaimed cellist Julia MacLaine.

Our program for this concert:

  • Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1
    featuring special guest cello soloist Julia MacLaine
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 2
  • Moth to Flame – world premiere of a new work by Maritime composer Kevin Morse

The concert starts at 2:30m at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Prince and Grafton streets downtown.

Please note there will not be a Pre-Concert Talk for this event due to timing limitations, but Maestro Shapiro will provide context for each piece during the concert!

Tickets available at the door.  Online ticket sales are now closed.

Julia MacLaine received her early training as a cellist on Prince Edward Island, performing with the PEI Symphony and also and in neighbouring Nova Scotia. Julia went on to study at McGill University, and then at The Juilliard School, and now performs worldwide as a recitalist and chamber musician in music ranging from classical to contemporary and from ‘world’ to her own compositions.

She has been praised by The New York Times for her “rich tone”, “sweet, throbbing vibrato”, and “superb playing”. As well as being co-founder and director of The Ikarus Chamber Players, Julia is an Artistic Director of The Declassified and has performed as a guest of many other New York-based ensembles, including Yo-Yo Ma’s The Silk Road Ensemble, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Julia has performed at many of New York City’s most prestigious and exciting venues, including Carnegie’s Stern, Weill, and Zankel Halls, Alice Tully Hall, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Galapagos Art Space, Le Poisson Rouge, and Merkin Hall. With the PEISO Julia will be performing Shostakovich’s popular Cello Concerto No. 1.

Beethoven fans will be happy to hear the PEISO will be performing his Symphony No. 2, and the orchestra is delighted to perform the world premiere of a new work by NB composer Kevin Morse, entitled “Moth to Flame”.

This concert will be presented at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at 135 Prince Street, at the corner of Grafton Street. Even though the concert will be held at the Zion Presbyterian Church, tickets are available at the Confederation Centre Boxoffice: $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children. For more information please visit www.peisymphony.com or call 892-4333.